The Fault in My Stars

Well, I thought it was me… fighting and losing the battle for night photography… I thought I was stupid (well, I am with the GoPro!)… but today, after a short discussion with a lady who is a much better photographer than I… I found out that my ISO setting is just not good enough!



It just seems like, if you live in one of the darkest sky areas around, that you should be able to photograph stars!  There are a bazillion stars, the Milky Way glows across the sky like headlights down a dark alley, satellites are whizzing in multiple directions, and airplane lights seem to be so bright as to be annoying.

Surely, SURELY, I could take some kind of nightscape.

UH.  NO.

I’ve decided to implore some professional photographer to take pity on me and give me a Newer, Better, Faster, More Spectacular, Super ISO powered, digital SLR!  One that would “cure fits, warts, freckles, coughs, colds, runny nose!  Make conception a wonder and childbirth a pleasure!”  Oh, and don’t forget the arm-long lens and remote and case…

Well, it would be NICE…

As it was, I ended up with totally black rectangles… and some really NOISY black rectangles… like this one…

Cassiopeia_There’s Cassiopeia in the bottom central area… and that annoying pink “sun” was in all of my photos…  See all those extra red and blue dots?  That’s noise.  Not stars.

So after being frustrated, I played a bit and “painted” my trees with my flashlight… still noisy though.

painted trees
Then I moved my camera towards the North Star and tried to take a long exposure, but it was a failure too, since I have to hold my finger on the button without shaking it.  I couldn’t hold it long enough, and the circular star trails were just beginning…  The light grey area on the right?  It’s the Milky Way.

north star




The Fault in My Stars — 5 Comments

  1. hi Carol, I also have had issues with this. Then, I put the camera on a tripod, select a shutter speed of a few seconds, and a 10 second delay on the shutter, push the button, and let the camera do it’s thing. Eliminates camera shake, and I can use a lower ISO. There will be some star movement, as I haven’t managed to figure out how to stop the world going around, and don’t have the flash tripod with motor to synch with earth rotation. I have had some really interesting results though.

  2. “Billions and billions of stars…” (say it Carl Sagan style (if you’re old enough to remember)). Hope you weren’t frustrated but had fun trying! For once, it wasn’t cloudy here, but the show isn’t all that impressive when you watch it from within a city’s light pollution. I get my star gazing fix from “APOD” ( for instance), while you’re my Number One Site for my endless WY skies fix. 🙂 And I like the trees!!

  3. No advice from me as I only have a point and click camera. That failed on a spectacular sky a few night ago when the ‘out of view’ setting sun painted the cloud from west to east PINK with a yellow glow. Can’t blame the camera completely as I was busy watching TV and got outside when the best colour had faded. Love your trees against the night sky and the stary sky. Must be amazing to see without any light pollution.

  4. Potential though! I’d love to hear the advice your friend had for you. I’ve been reading, and reading, and reading. The key is to balance your ISO setting with the widest aperture your lens has. f2.4 is good, less is even better. And those get expensive fast. Wider aperture = lower ISO setting = less noise. My new camera even has a couple of settings to reduce that “black noise”. A remote shutter release helps too, and they are fairly cheap.

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